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Friday, April 4, 2008

Why There is a Miss America and a Miss U.S.A

I've always kind of wondered why there is a Miss America and a Miss U.S.A. It seemed like beauty-queen overkill to me.

But it turns out there is some significance to why the two exist.

The Miss U.S.A Pageant was created after the 1951 Miss America winner, 21-year-old Yolande Betbeze from Mobile, Ala., refused to wear a bathing suit to promotional events after she was crowned. Catalina, the Pageant's swimsuit sponsor, subsequently pulled out of the Miss America Pageant and started the Miss U.S.A and Miss Universe Pageants.

Betbeze "entered the Miss America Pageant for the scholarship opportunity it presented. Having spent the previous years of her life in convent schooling, posing in a swimsuit was heretofore unheard of for Yolande. After winning the Miss America title, Betbeze declared, 'I'm an opera singer, not a pin-up!' and refused posing in a bathing suit again."

Information courtesty
Photos courtesy the Miss America Pageant, Geocites and PBS.

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